cache fondo

A group of cyclists rides a section of the Cache Gran Fondo in 2019. The 100-mile race/ride starts in Logan, Utah, and goes to Malad where it loops back to Logan.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Gremlins got into the system last week and a large portion of this column failed to make the newspaper. Here is the column in its entirety.

About mile 60 in a 106-mile bicycle race/ride I was feeling pretty good about things. I had latched on with a group of riders going about 22+ mph and I was in their draft and not working too hard. Then I did a bone-head move.

I reached down to grab my water bottle for a drink and it slipped out of my hand and bounced across the road.

I pedaled back to retrieve it. I figured it might come in handy since my other water bottle was nearly empty and there was still more than 35 miles to go in the Cache Gran Fondo.

The route began climbing over a long hill and the groups of cyclists began to blow apart. The nice thing about hills is that you generally make up for the slow accent with a fast down on the other side.

My goal was to finish the giant loop that went north to Malad and back to Logan in about 5 hours. My final time was 5 hours 11 minutes. I think I could have made my goal, except the total distance ended up being 106 miles. (And there was that long traffic light at the end of the ride to cross Main Street in Logan.) My average speed was 20 mph.

The forecast for the ride was hot, but since we started at 6:15 a.m. and finished about 11:25 a.m., we dodged the heat of the day.

When I crossed the line, a friendly face gave me a “Finisher’s” medal and a meal ticket for a choice of burrito or burger. It was a nice ending to a tiring morning.

By the time I picked it up, the group of about a dozen riders were a quarter of a mile down the road.

I poured on the steam, but never caught up.

Another group about a quarter of a mile behind, caught up and we road together until the next feed/rest station.

To make up time, I quickly refilled my bottle at the feed station, ate a dill pickle and headed back down the road. It was a NASCAR speed pit stop and it got me back on schedule.

I signed up with my Utah brother to do the gran fondo held on July 10 as a motivator to step up our fitness levels. A couple of weeks into our training for the big ride, he texted me photos of him sitting in a hospital bed with a face and body (especially his nose) torn to ribbons. “I crashed on my bike,” he said. “Don’t know what happened. I can’t remember anything.”

I would be doing the ride without him.

The ride started at the Green Canyon High School in Logan, Utah. It was chilly, about 55 degrees, and I was glad I brought arm warmers. My sweetheart reminded me to bring them. More than 400 bicyclists crammed up to the start line and a man shouted excitedly into a microphone and counted down the start. Another 300 or more bikers would start the 76-mile route 15 minutes later.

We were led through town with a sheriff’s car escort, passing through stop lights held up by traffic cops. About a mile down the road in the middle of the mass of cyclists a guy crashed in front of me forcing me to swerve and brake. I saw the guy later with a torn patch in the side of his Spandex and a raspberry wound on his hip.

After about 25 miles, the mass of cyclists came to the first feed station. Not needing anything, I kept on riding and left perhaps a third of the cyclists behind.

The route began climbing over a long hill and the groups of cyclists began to blow apart. The nice thing about hills is that you generally make up for the slow accent with a fast down on the other side.

My goal was to finish the giant loop that went north to Malad and back to Logan in about 5 hours. My final time was 5 hours 11 minutes. I think I could have made my goal, except the total distance ended up being 106 miles. (And there was that long traffic light at the end of the ride to cross Main Street in Logan.) My average speed was 20 mph.

The forecast for the ride was hot, but since we started at 6:15 a.m. and finished about 11:25 a.m., we dodged the heat of the day.

When I crossed the line, a friendly face gave me a “Finisher’s” medal and a meal ticket for a choice of burrito or burger. It was a nice ending to a tiring morning.

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